Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Inimical to the public good

242 Responses

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  • James Harton,

    It would seem impossible for there to not be unintended consequences. Orcon was kind enough to disable my internet access recently, my wife didn't even notice because her MacBook had decided to use my neighbour's wifi and neither of us even noticed it until suddenly _I_ had no internet access.
    Pretty much the first thing I did upon unpacking my iPod touch from the box was change the settings for it to automatically try to join any wifi networks it finds and I went through and taught it the default passwords for a whole bunch of different brands of wifi access points. During my walk down the hill to the ferry in the morning there four or five different points at which I can happily loiter and check my email or browse the web (including a prominent journalists house who should know better). Some of these networks are unsecured, all of them have the box default configurations.
    In a world where broadband internet access is given away in ignorance it's completely unreasonable to assume that because someone infringed copyright (or downloaded kiddy porn, for that matter) from a certain broadband connection that means that someone in that household is responsible for the infringement.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Seems like a pretty low test for what is becoming an essential of modern life. Does NZ have any sort of User's Rights movement/etc for utilities or things of an alike nature?

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 878 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    three false allegations, which cost nothing to make, will do nicely

    This makes the potential for abuse so incredibly obvious that it's hard to regard anything as an "unintended consequence".

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4331 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    I find it a bit comical that politicians seriously discuss ideas like these while simultaneously purporting to be democratic representatives.

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    So I'm a little confused - we're doing this to the internet because someone pirated Sione's Wedding and sold DVD in street markets in Auckland .... will the people who run the street markets also be required to ban customers who have previously bought dodgy DVDs from their vendors? it's really the same issue and about as hard to implement

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2069 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Robinson,

    in practice that means cutting off a customer who has been the subject of three allegations of using their internet connection to infringe copyright

    Where? Who says! This seems to be going around, but no one can tell me why the act requires a "reasonable policy" to determine that "appropriate circumstances" for cutting off a connection are that three allegations have been received.

    Yes, there's a clause that says "repeatedly", but that doesn't imply three. There is also a clause describing a notification of allegation process, but that's for a different purpose (notifying the ISP that they are hosting on behalf copyright violating material, not that a user has been downloading stuff).

    I'm not saying that the Act as implemented couldn't lead to such a process, but the Act as legislated doesn't say so.

    Which is enough in and of itself to damn it in my book; it's entirely too vague. But no reason to keep harping on about "three strikes and you're out" and similar. People seem to be leaping to conclusions inadequate to the evidence I've seen so far.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Want to know if you're registered to vote? Click here.

    No clickage-ability Russell.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6154 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Indeed, I'm told that Judith Tizard was prepared to take it out again (or at least discuss doing so) before relations with the geek lobby collapsed.

    Oh really? I would love to know who told you that, Russell, and just exactly relations "collapsed". Remember the "geek" community in this instance is not just a bunch of open source coders, it includes InternetNZ, NZCS, the TCF and ISPs.

    Does this also mean that ministers put personal feelings before good policy?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1615 posts Report Reply

  • barnaclebarnes,

    Lets just say some ordinary citizens accidentally accused the MP's of illegally downloading content. After 3 accusations they would have their internet access cut off? Will it be that easy to bring down internet access for those who passed this bill?

    It will be interesting to see what comes of this bill in practice.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 84 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    92A Internet service provider must have policy for terminating
    accounts of repeat infringers
    “(1) An Internet service provider must adopt and reasonably implement
    a policy that provides for termination, in appropriate circumstances,
    of the account with that Internet service provider
    of a repeat infringer.

    “(2) In subsection (1), repeat infringer means a person who repeatedly
    infringes the copyright in a work by using 1 or more
    of the Internet services of the Internet service provider to do a
    restricted act without the consent of the copyright owner.

    Does (or not) the "reasonably" oblige ISPs to terminate only in "reasonable" circumstances?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh really? I would love to know who told you that, Russell

    I'll email you.

    My advice for all involved: keep personalities out of it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18645 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    The extra-judicial nature of the termination is what worries me. There's no requirement for a right of appeal, and whilst the ordinary court processes of injunctions and lawsuits will, of course, be open, that's just not a path that's going to happen unless someone who's a) wealthy and b) gives a damn gets disconnected. Think Seeby, or Malcolm Dick. Though, of course, they're both immune since they're never going to be disconnected by the ISPs they founded.

    As others have pointed out, that it's a process triggered simply by allegation, not by any kind of adversarial system, opens it up wide to abuse. And the poor ISPs are the ones who face the lawsuits if it's all bogus. Which, based on the behaviour of copyright holders in the US under the DMCA, is pretty much a certainty.

    As for Tizzard and her kiddy porn comment, DIA's compliance division usually get tipped-off about people viewing inappropriate material (often by way of international investigating agencies) and then go to the ISPs with a warrant to request details associated with the IP address(es) in question. They have to get a judge to sign the warrant, which is one hurdle. They have to develop information in order to get the warrant, which is another hurdle. They cannot just walk into an ISP and say "We think 1.1.1.1 was viewing inappropriate material at 10:10 on 10th October, hand over the details", which would still be a greater hurdle than alleging it was so and the ISP then disconnecting the user. As an anecdotal note, when I was involved with getting user details for DIA investigations into use of inappropriate material, there was no expectation that the ISP would close the user's account in the event that a conviction was obtained.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • peter mclennan,

    Yesterday Helen Clark defended this piece of legislation when interviewed by Sunrise's Oliver Driver, saying "What Judith Tizard's working on is getting a new business model for artists in New Zealand".

    YEAH RIGHT.

    Even worse - Maurice Williamson (Nat IT spokesman) says he voted for the bill, but admits he doesnt know why. Our IT future is clearly in good hands.

    AK Central • Since Nov 2006 • 151 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Neilson,

    When people hear "complain process" they think about people sitting in an office reading through printed logs and holding meetings to discuss who they think may be infringing copyright, then building the case and writing a letter to the ISP to make their first complaint.

    Nuh-uh. Is there anyone here who doesn't think this whole process will just be mechanised?

    Machine-readable logs. The computer goes through to identify suspicious behavior, bit-torrent or Limewire usage etc.

    Machine-writable letters. They'll all be the same, potentially with a few variables like what time you were downloading or uploading something they don't suspect you have the rights to.

    That's the entire process. Download an album and I don't see why a computer couldn't make at least three complaints out of that. By that time, it's a disconnection request.

    Early next year I hope to release an original artwork to the creative commons. The full file will be at least 100mb and our goal is to get one million downloads. I'll need to distribute it with the help of BitTorrent, or pay some ridonkulous data fee. People need to know that downloading my work for free won't get them disconnected from the net.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2008 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Maurice Williamson (Nat IT spokesman) says he voted for the bill, but admits he doesnt know why.

    Is it overly cynical of me to say "Because his corporate overlords at RIANZ said it was vital to the preservation of the Kiwi way of life"?

    Seriously, National aren't known for doing anything that's not sought-after by the recording industry. They say jump, National asks "Would you like fries with that?" At least Labour gave us something vaguely like fair-use, which I'm certain wouldn't have eventuated if National were in charge of drafting the new legislation.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Does (or not) the "reasonably" oblige ISPs to terminate only in "reasonable" circumstances?

    I think Cunliffe said that the delay in implementation is to work out exactly what the system will be. Considering the ISPs think it would, practically, be based on accusations and RIANZ has said having to sue would be unacceptable, that's clearly where things are heading.

    Since putting it in the Act implies the legislators evisaged a system where someone could be cut off under an ISP-side policy, that seems the most likely outcome anyway. OTOH (and IANAL) I imagine the courts might, indeed, be more interested in things like natural justice and so on.

    A side note: I'm reminded of the difficult end of the notice and takedown rules. In the event that someone says x is a breach of copyright, and the user says oh no it isn't, the ISP isn't really game to adjudicate but (I have this right?) the get fined if they leave it up and it is a breach - so they take it down whether it is or not.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1094 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    we're doing this to the internet because someone pirated Sione's Wedding and sold DVD in street markets in Auckland

    This was my exact thought upon reading Colin Jacksons comments Paul - that film piracy and DVD street vending has very very little to do with internet-based copyright infringement.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Neilson,

    Might I add: When it's kiddy porn you're trying to identify, you know when you've found it because it looks like kiddy porn.

    Copyright is another matter: I recently downloaded something that I have previously bought (I can't find the disks). I have paid for this in the past so, surely that's it. If I was nabbed for it I should be presumed innocent until proven guilty - something I have no idea how the rights-holders might try to prove.

    Sorry but the jig is up.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2008 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    __Want to know if you're registered to vote? Click here.__

    No clickage-ability Russell.

    Whoopsie ...

    https://secure.elections.org.nz/app/enrol/

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18645 posts Report Reply

  • peter mclennan,

    Matthew P - Seriously, National aren't known for doing anything that's not sought-after by the recording industry

    Um, you mean like last time they were in power, when they froze funding levels for the arts. National have never done squat for the music industry when they were in govt.

    It would be more accurate to say that Labour aren't known for doing anything that's not sought-after by the recording industry - witness Helen Clarks rapturous reception at the NZ Music Awards last wednesday. Labour have created some great initiatives for the music industry, but this is not one of them

    AK Central • Since Nov 2006 • 151 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    __Maurice Williamson (Nat IT spokesman) says he voted for the bill, but admits he doesnt know why.__

    Is it overly cynical of me to say "Because his corporate overlords at RIANZ said it was vital to the preservation of the Kiwi way of life"?

    What struck me was the way he held forth in the Internet Debate about how it's all changed with copyright and it's anarchy now and we just have to get used to it -- but doesn't appear to have done or said a single useful thing where it might actually have counted. At least the other side is serious.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18645 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    https://secure.elections.org.nz/app/enrol/

    Heh. That used to be a very insecure system. My old job used to involve finding people who had slipped off a database. We discovered the electoral roll, you could enter names and dates of birth, and it would give you a street name and ask for the number.

    You then went to whitepages, looked up the name, got the number, and entered it in. It logged you in and you could look at all their details held.

    After about two weeks of us using it to find 500 lost people, they phoned us and said "umm, what are you doing, and can you please stop it?". And obviously since they've made the system more secure in that you have to enter your address.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6154 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Matthew P - "Seriously, National aren't known for doing anything that's not sought-after by the recording industry"

    Um, you mean like last time they were in power, when they froze funding levels for the arts. National have never done squat for the music industry when they were in govt.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that Matthew was equating "recording industry" with "music industry"

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    this was passed and published over 6 months ago...why is it an issue now?

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • James Harton,

    Because Section 92A was so contentious that it has been delayed to give people more time to think about it. I suspect we'll still see this horrible piece of legislation on the books unmodified, it wouldn't be the first piece of horrible legislation.
    Honestly, I think it's a bit of a red herring. Look at DMCA takedowns on youtube. Even with automated processes the MPAA can't keep up with the global whack-a-mole of the western worlds angsty tweens. People who have a legitimate reason to be posting something tend to post it on vimeo or blip.tv or any number of other services if the behemoth of youtube beurocracy selects them for the cull.
    And none of it, short of burly men showing up on your doorstep (Hi John!) will stop the hardcore copyright infringers from going about their daily business. Without "trusted computing" then there's no way to control the worlds largest and highest bandwidth peer-to-peer file-sharing system: Sneakernet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 51 posts Report Reply

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